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Shed No Tears For Blunkett 1

Mark Barnsley | 16.12.2004 16:03 | Analysis | Repression | Liverpool | Sheffield

In the wake of Blunkett’s overdue resignation a picture is being painted, with himself as the primary artist, of ‘an honourable man brought low by love’. The career of this vain, arrogant, conceited individual was not brought to an end because of Blunkett’s private life, something he has done his utmost to deny the rest of us, but because he is a liar and corrupt, neither of which are new.


When David Blunkett boasted, characteristically, that he would make his predecessor as home secretary, Jack Straw, “look like a woolly liberal”, I doubt there were too many people who believed this was possible. Even Blunkett may not have been able to make ‘Mad Jack’, as he was known in the prison system, look like a liberal, but he is certainly the most right-wing home secretary this country has had in living memory, and he revelled in the fact. Straw may have been at least as Draconian as Michael Howard before him, but he didn’t have 9-11, an event, which if one were needed, gave Blunkett’s innate authoritarianism and xenophobia full-reign.

In the wake of Blunkett’s overdue resignation a picture is being painted, with himself as the primary artist, of ‘an honourable man brought low by love’. The career of this vain, arrogant, conceited individual was not brought to an end because of Blunkett’s private life, something he has done his utmost to deny the rest of us, but because he is a liar and corrupt, neither of which are new.

I first met David Blunkett in 1974, and later suffered under him when he was leader of Sheffield City Council, and neither his dishonesty, nor his corruption, nor his right-wing views are recently acquired. He’s simply been better in the past at hiding them. First and foremost though, David Blunkett has been a ruthless careerist, no wonder, like Margaret Thatcher before him, he’s blubbing now.

Thatcher was a great political ally to Blunkett in his Sheffield Council days, he could cover up the corruption and incompetence of his administration by blaming everything on central government: Northern Grit squaring up to Whitehall. Thatcher was of course despised in Sheffield, leaving the local Labour administration as secure as a one-party state, and they ran it accordingly. As Blunkett well knew, during this period, you could have put a red ribbon on a dog, and people would have voted for it.

In the 1980’s Sheffield City Council may have had a publicity machine worthy of Stalin’s Russia, but any talk of ‘socialism’ was never more than empty rhetoric for Blunkett and his pals. Look beyond the publicity and their track record shows that.

Under Blunkett, more than half of the council’s own 32,000 employees earned basic pay below TUC guidelines, and 10,000 of them were paid less than the Council of Europe ‘decency threshold’. Women workers got a particularly bad deal, earning far less than their male colleagues, and getting fewer promotions. There was also evidence of racial discrimination, with only 1% of council employees being black, a quarter of what it should have been, and rumours of a ‘colour bar’ in the Town Hall’s heavily subsidised restaurant, where no black person had ever been employed.

While lowly council workers got a raw deal there were plenty of jobs and high salaries for the Labour Party faithful. Irrespective of their true politics, careerists from all over the country flocked to Sheffield and joined up. Sheffield didn’t need freemasonry, we had the Labour Party. Usually the jobs doled out to the boys and girls were in social or youth work, Sheffield had more social-workers per head of population than any other place on the planet. In special cases though, a job would be invented, such as the creation of a highly-paid ‘Peace Officer’ role for one Blunkett crony.

Blunkett presided over a huge homeless problem in Sheffield, while massive numbers of council-owned properties lay empty for years, and sometimes for decades. Early in 1983 ‘Peace City’ was somewhat embarrassed to find that a group of young peaceniks had squatted one long-empty council-owned building and turned it into a ‘peace centre’. In response, Blunkett’s pal Roger Barton, then Chairman of the ‘Nuclear Free Zones Committee’, personally went round and cut off the electricity to the building. Blunkett however, faithfully promised the young pacifists that they would not be evicted, a promise he quickly broke.

Another embarrassment for the Blunkettgrad ‘Nuclear Free Zone’ was when a British Rail guard blew the whistle on the transportation of nuclear waste through the area, a fact the council had tried hard to keep quiet.

As homeless figures in the city continued to soar, other long-unused council-owned properties were occupied. The council’s response was always swift and ruthless. Facing immediate eviction one group of squatters wrote to Blunkett personally to ask for a stay of eviction while they found somewhere else to live. With typical arrogance Blunkett replied, “It would seem to me that anarchy can hardly expect reasoned and structured responses within the system which is being attacked.” After the eviction the building stayed empty for several more years.

Blunkett’s administration also waged a long and bitter war against travellers, even evicting them in the middle of a TB epidemic. The treatment of Sheffield travellers led to a perinatal mortality rate of nearly 50%.

Blunkett and his cohorts constantly railed in public about the corruption of Tory politicians in Whitehall, while Sheffield City Council junkets were legendary and almost every night the Town Hall hosted a lavish function or banquet for some group of councillors or another. Some friends of mine once went to visit Blunkett in his Town Hall office in 1983. Walking in unexpected they witnessed a huge feast laid out, this was Blunkett’s elevenses.

A big part of maintaining the illusion necessary to running Blunkettgrad was the notion of ‘squaring up to Thatcher’, so from time to time various ‘stands’ were made, with Blunkett & co promising to ‘stand firm’ against the Tories on various issues. Things were made easier by the fact that to a very large extent the Council ‘owned’ the unions, the tenants associations, the peace groups, and just about every political front, tendency, and organisation operating in the city.

One Blunkett ‘stand’ was over ‘rate-capping’, when Sheffield and several other Labour council’s refused to set ‘a Tory rate’. How Blunkett and his pals puffed and panted about this one, before crumbling at the very first opportunity. The discovery of the ‘Tory’ rate demands already typed-up and hidden in Blunkett’s office said a lot about his personal integrity. The inside word at the time was that Blunkett had been instructed to back down personally by Neil Kinnock, who was then waging a war against Militant Tendency, particularly in Liverpool where they controlled the anti-rate capping council. Blunkett’s promised reward was the advancement of his cherished political career. He was elected as MP for Brightside, one of the most solid Labour seats in the country, at the next General Election.

Another ‘stand’ was against bus-fare increases. The city’s famously low fares had actually begun to increase a few years earlier, but in 1986 Thatcher’s deregulation of public transport threatened to send them spiralling. After more hot-air Blunkett again capitulated, and as always he aimed to crush any uncontrolled dissent ruthlessly. As a member of a group opposed to the fare increases I was sent to prison for putting up a poster advising passengers not to pay. I wasn’t prosecuted by the police, I hadn’t committed a criminal offence, but by the Labour council, for not having planning permission.

As home secretary Blunkett’s abuses of human rights and civil liberties have been staggering. He has introduced internment without trial for suspected foreign terrorists, is introducing military camps for children, and barely a day goes by without him dreaming up another crackpot neo-fascist scheme to attack civil liberties, criminalize working-class communities, and put more and more people behind bars. Under Blunkett the British prison population has risen to more than 75,000. Held in appalling conditions, which Blunkett has consistently ignored, growing numbers of these prisoners are driven to suicide, slashing open their veins with slivers of glass or razor-blade, hanging themselves from heating pipes only inches above the floor, or choking on their own vomit through swallowing pills. Callously, Blunkett has refused to meet the mothers of some of the young women driven to these acts of desperation, while his only comment on prison suicides has been to quip that he was inclined to open a bottle of champagne after Harold Shipman killed himself.

Blunkett has long had a vicious tongue, and as his former cabinet colleagues have witnessed recently, he is not slow to use it. He once famously accused single mothers of deliberately getting pregnant to jump the council housing queue. There was no basis for this accusation whatsoever, but these were young working-class girls, who might need a helping hand, and perhaps a bit of advice on contraception. Not rich, already married, right-wingers who didn’t need his sleazy favours (and who might also now be reconsidering the issue of birth-control.)

David Blunkett sought to hide his corruption by playing the ‘my private life is my own’ card he is trying to deny the rest of us. The man who has consistently assured us, in relation to ID cards, that if ‘we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to worry about’ has come unstuck, and those familiar with his ‘computer-like’ mind are probably taking his recent bad memory with a pinch of salt.

Blunkett’s assistance with passport and visa applications on behalf of his rich former mistress sits hypocritically with the hard-line stance he has taken with those fleeing war and torture abroad. This is the man who told Kosovan and Afghani refugees to ‘get back home’.

And without wanting to twist the knife too much, his current fixation with acquiring a family, even if it’s somebody else’s, sits uneasily with his past history. The day after his election as an MP, Blunkett announced he was leaving his wife and children in Sheffield and moving in with his ‘research assistant’ in London. His marriage may as he has recently said been ‘a loveless relationship’, but he had hidden that fact for a long time, and he’s now finding out that middle-class women don’t disappear into the background quite so quickly or so conveniently.

Just like Thatcher before him, the only person David Blunkett is able to shed tears for is himself, snivelling that he doesn’t feel sorry for himself and that he’ll “try to have something of a Christmas.” Whatever happens to Blunkett, and unfortunately we may not have seen the last of him, he’s sure to have a better festive season than the families of the record 92 British prisoners who have killed themselves so far this year, those locked up without trial in prisons or detention centres, or the vast number of other victims of his reign as home secretary. Shed no tears for Blunkett, he can shed them himself.

Mark Barnsley
16th December 2004

Mark Barnsley
- e-mail:


Hide the following 20 comments


17.12.2004 12:48

I'LL BE BACK!!!!!!!!

D. Blunket

Who's next for the medja praise

17.12.2004 18:24

The mainstream media were already eulogising him last night along the lines of - the "flawed hero" shit. How tragic! We seem to be getting more of this eg. Reagan, Thatcher ( whoops spoke too soon on the last one... )

Poor man must have a bad memory and wasn't quite sure of the guidelines on "perks".....etc etc etc.

cheer up heres a link to a video....

...rap assassins?

vegan slop bucket

Military camps for Children?

18.12.2004 00:11

Excellent and informative article but what does this refer to...

"He ... is introducing military camps for children..."


Military Camps For Children

19.12.2004 17:34

A month ago it was announced that military-style 'training' (punishment) camps are to be introduced for 'naughty' 10-14 year olds. The camps appear to be re-hashed detention centres or borstals, except for even younger kids, and are being designed and administered by the MOD and what used to be the Probation Service.

Mark Barnsley
mail e-mail:

Support for David Blunkett

20.12.2004 23:34

The ignorance of Mark Barnsley and his like is amazing. It is about time he and his middle class cohorts actually mixed with ordinary working class people. Just pop into Brightside and he will find an overwhelming support for David Blunkett and all that he has tried to do for ordinary working people. I have attended three public meetings in Brightside and all three recorded their unanimous support and confidence in him. At two meetings last week attended by David Blunkett, he received a standing ovation. Ordinary people are fed up seeing the Elderly and Vunerable on their Estates terrorised by a bunches of yobs and David was trying his best to respond to their needs. Whether you like it or not he is a real Working Class hero, people can see what he achieved for his constituency both as the Education Secretary and Home Secretary.

Mark Barnsey's recollection of history is also very selective. What he does not tell you is that when David Blunkett was leader of the City Coucil the Trade Unions themselves would not allow local negotiations on wage levels. All had to be agreed at National Level. Nevetheless a low pay suppliment was introduced in Sheffield. Also David and the majority of the Labour Group did try to defend local services and take on the Thatcher's Rate Capping ( and risk bankruptcy ), unfortunately an alliance of Labour rebels and Tories won the day. Also can Mark Barnsley please explain why is it wrong to employ social workers, does he not believe that the most vunerable in our society need support, obviously not.
Mark Barnsley clearly holds ordinary voters in contempt with his comments re the general election. However it is my and many peoples views that in David we have a gut politician with intellect and integrity a rare combination and whether we agree with everything he says and does or not, we need him. He will be back, I can assure you !!

Peter Price
mail e-mail:,uk

Intellect and Integrity ???

22.12.2004 10:39

"in David we have a gut politician with intellect and integrity a rare combination"

I don't understand how you can possibly make such a statement after reading the article above. In addition his unwavering support for the brutal war on Iraq proves he is, without doubt, a very corrupt politician (either that or he's extremely dim to have swallowed Blair's lies).

As for the two meetings he attended I suspect that the only reason he recieved ovations was because most ordinary people didn't know they were going ahead. Had people known then there would surely have been crowds of protesters too.

You say he's a working class hero but somehow I doubt the working class in Iraq would agree. The working class does exist solely in this country and to make such an assumption smacks of racism and nationalism.

Finally even if Blunkett has done the occasional good thing so what? His support for the illegal war on Iraq makes him a criminal of the worst kind - a war criminal. You wouldn't excuse someone who mugged old ladies because they occasionally gave money to charity so why are you excusing and ignoring Blunkett's crimes?


having met david blunket

22.12.2004 20:59

When i met david blunket i chose to bring up the issue of detention without trial and the scape goating of assylum seekers as an excuse for political incompetence... he claimed that i read 'the independent' newspaper. Of course i didnt.
As for the local meetings i live locally and i never heard about any meeting, what's more i think that some of the devisive things he does locally are really shit. I did hear about the local meeting he had just before the iraq war and he left that meeting in no uncertain circumstances about what his constituents wanted. It is typical labour, first they play the blame game (i.e. the war on assylum seekers) then when it comes to more important things (i.e. war, foundation hospitals, detention without trial, council houses etc...) they ignore them in exchange for middle class issues (i.e. tuition fees).

i met david blunket

Yes intellect and Integrity !!

23.12.2004 02:00

It really is time some of you got out into the real world and actually spoke to ordinary working people in Brightside. Both the public meetings David attended were very well advertised both by the Tenants Association and Firth Park School and well attended, indeed you could say there were full houses, both gave standing ovations to him. Perhaps you were not attentive enough and missed the chance to ship in your rent a mob crowd from outside. You may not like it but you do happen to be in the minority. If anybody is fooled by the Daily Mail and the Capitalist Press it is you lot, not ordinary people. However just to enlighten you what David and the Government have achieved in Brightside

The new Six Form Longley College opened this term and oversubsribed by Brightside kids
The new Firth Park Sure Start Nusery opened one month ago with major additions to the Park including play, again for Brightside kids
A new Hind House Secondary School currently being Built for Brightside kids
A new Bracken Road School beginning on site early in the new year for Brightside kids
A new Fir Vale Secondary School opened two years ago for Brightside & Burngeave kids
A new Chaucer School for Brightside kids
Big investment in the Firth Park Arts College for Brightside kids and adults
100's of millions of pounds is being or about to be invested in all of the Council Housing stock across Brightside, giving everbody high quality homes
Experimental Home Wardens appointed in Wincobank and Flower Estate
ASBO's tried out first in Brightside to protect many of the vunerable elderly
Massive investment in the Brightside Environment, trying to bring the quality of life up to the standard in the South of the City
Beck Road Chapel recently purchased wth Government Grant for the youth of Shiregreen
New BMX track built for the kids of Wincobank opened last year,for the kids of Brightside

Now you might refer to these as 'a few good things' Well let me tell you there has never in our history been such a massive investment in public service in this City as what is happening now. never! After suffering 17 years of Tory cuts hammering our communities this feels good. The people of Brightside know this and appreciate that David can take credit for much of it. I did not and do not agree with his stance on the war, nor his support of ID cards (although I think the majority of the public do). Nevertheless, lets give credit where credit is due and David Blunkett deserves a lot of credit for his hard work and energy on behalf of the people who elect him, and if you think they will not re-elect him with a massive majority the you are deluded, people are not the fools you take them for.

Pete Price

How many are PFI projects?

23.12.2004 16:56

"A new Hind House Secondary School currently being Built for Brightside kids
A new Bracken Road School beginning on site early in the new year for Brightside kids
A new Fir Vale Secondary School opened two years ago for Brightside & Burngeave kids
A new Chaucer School for Brightside kids"
I'm Curious to know Peter, are any of these PFI projects? Schnews did a good article on PFI's (entitled NO PFI-LING MATTER)in this issue (There is a reason that the late Paul Foot called it Perfidious Financial Idiocy). So anyway, answer my question, go on indulge me :)


more on brightside

24.12.2004 16:16

Shirecliffe is right in the centre of the brightside constituency and if you went up there you will find houses empty, boarded up and being demolished...why would the council be demolishing houses when there is such a shortage of them?
This labour government and this labour led council has a policy of letting council houses go empty even though there is a waiting list at least 6 months long (and yes i know people who have been waiting 6 months for a council house/flat). Due to the fact that these houses are empty they become targets for theifs, vandals and anyone who has too much time on their hands - why? - because if a house is empty then when someone breaks in it is less likely that anyone will phone the police. The third stage of this policy is to demolish the houses and say that they had no choice because the houses were derelict, the council can then sell off the land, or stock transfer or whatever and they face no opposition because nobody lives there!

I would also like to mention a few other things going on in the north of the city because there are some very unpopular things going on, like the inner city ring road, demolision of spital hill & wood side and the transfer of council housing over to private companies.

Fair enough some things have improved (i.e. educational coverage) but compared to the tories anyone looks good. When no other party puts up a resonable challenge it is no wonder that a media hyped front bench minister wins every time. That does not mean that labour is great, it is more a reflection on the distribution of seats and the electoral commission gerymandering.

I find it pathetic that you bring up a standing ovation at a public meeting as a sign of widespread popular support. May i remind you how the media in this country use to ridicule the likes of caucescu and other dictators for their over the top self congratulations and media manipulation. Now we have a public meeting that was declared at short notice that not alot of people knew about and why did this meeting happen? It happened because david blunket wanted to give himself a pat on the back! What a self centred little shit.

Lets not forget why david blunket resigned he resigned because he lied and lied and lied again. The story goes somthing like this:
firstly an accusation was made about in proper use of his powers regarding a visa application.
then he set up an investigation and pre-empted the findings of this investigation by saying that he would be found totally innocent ('whiter than white'). He said that he did not bring the application into work, he did not give special treatment, he did not fast track it and the civil servents were not involved at all.

then he said 'ok, fair cop, i did bring it into work but there was no fast tracking, no special treatment and i only brought it in so that my civil servents could read it out to me'

then he said 'ok, fair cop, i did bring it into work but only to use it as an example of how shoddy the home office is regarding visa applications BUT there was no fast tracking and no special treatment'.

then he said 'ok, fair cop, i did bring it into work but only to use it as an example of how shoddy the home office is regarding visa application and fair enough an email has been found that shows that i asked for it to be proccessed "abit faster but no special treatment" BUT there was no special treatment'.

Well david, i feel i need to inform you of somthing, getting a visa application proccessed 'abit faster' is special treatment!

What else did david do?

he stole £120 of train tickets from the government, it was only £120 BUT there are people in prison for stealing alot less - agreed david did pay back the £120 but if i stole a DVD player from a shop and was caught and convicted could i just hand back the DVD player and let that be the end of it? answer: no, i would have to serve the full sentence - so why shouldnt david be put in prison? beats me!


credit where credit is due

24.12.2004 22:35

Peter Price says we should give "credit where credit is due". Fair enough, no doubt Blunkett has done some good stuff. But while we're dishing out the credit perhaps some praise is in order for Saddam Hussain or Adolf Hitler. Both did good things for their respective countries which is why they got support. If we can just forget about their mass murder of thousands of innocent people in the same way that Peter Price seems to be happy to forget the crimes of Blunkett perhaps they'd be worthy of our support too.

All people who hold positions of power have to do some good things if they're going to remain in power for any length of time. This is true in democracies but also dictatorships too. Saddam Hussain helped build the best education and healthcare in the Middle East. But to me those who are happy to forget the terrible things such people do because they do manage to get some good stuff done are just as corrupt as those at the top.


Only one 'Self Centred Shit' Cuthbert

02.01.2005 22:07

As a good Brightside lad born & bred on the Shirecliffe Estate I'll take you all on! I'm beginning to enjoy this.

Firstly Cuthbert, for if anybody is a self centred shit, as he so eloquently puts it, it has to be our Cuthbert. No pal the public meetings at which David Blunkett received standing ovations, were not hastily arranged for the benefit of him. One was the Annual Prize giving at Firth Park School which had been in his and everbody's diaries for at least 6 months and the other the launch of the new Stubbin Tenants & Residance Association, which had been fixed for over 3 months. Get real man, whether you like it or not Blunkett is considered a class hero among the working class, but what would you know about the working class.
SHIRECLIFFE Don't tell me anything about the Shirecliffe Estate! I was born and bred there and my parents lived on Shirecliffe Road for over sixty years, Ma only dying two years ago. Shirecliffe, like every other estate in Britain whether Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, etc. all suffered from 17years of Tory attacks on public housing. All Councils were strictly controlled on what was allowed to be spent within the Housing Account, even the Council House Sale receipts only 25% could be used. This is now being transformed with hundreds of millions of pounds being invested in public housing and together with the majority of Tenants the whole estate is being replanned with a better mix for families, the elderly and single people, community facilities and open space. Sometimes you need a little vision and a little patience if we are to build the type of society we are striving for.

PFI Yes the PFI method of funding has been used to fund many of the new schools. So what! Do you think any of the Kids, the Parents or the Teachers & Heads could care a toss of how they were funded. Would you prefer we didn't bother. Paul Foot(bless him) was right PFI is an expensive form of funding it would be much cheaper if we were allowed to go direct to the Capitalist Banks, however the government picks up the vast majority of the revenue costs within the Council grant and if it gets round the Public Borrowing Restrictions so be it. One thing I learned in the battles with Central government in 80's and 90's is that you can't win a direct confrontation with Government. It may be good for one own ego or our political C.V's, but it don't do the people who elect us any favours. We have to leaned to be a bit more clever if we are to achieve our goals for the people of Brightside.

Pete Price

Pete Price

Middle class? Moi?!

04.01.2005 16:36

It's good to see that Peter Price's attempted Blunkett snowjob has been roundly rejected for the drivel it is. One further comment though. Price, like Blunkett, is trying to make out that this is some kind of debate between 'good working class lad's and the 'chattering classes', as if Blunkett met his erstwhile mistress in a Sheffield boozer. It's all a bit familiar. For what it’s worth, anybody who knows me would piss themselves at the suggestion that I am middle-class, my dad was a machine-tool fitter, my mum a school dinner lady, and I have lived in rented accommodation all my adult life. I don’t even have a bank account. Blunkett may come from a working-class background, but he sold his class down the river a long time ago.

Mark Barnsley

verbal abuse is no substitute for reasoned argument

04.01.2005 21:30

Peter price starts his response to my reasoned argument with a classic peice of personal abuse. I admit that i may well be a "self centred little shit" but fortunatly for the rest of you i am not in a position to impose my personal ego on everyone else, david blunket and peter price on the other hand have imposed their own ego's on the country and people of sheffield for many years. David blunket, by claiming that he is a 'straight talking, honest bloke' has created his own personality cult. It is this personality cult that he revels in that led to him being sacked as home secretary. I wish that throughout his reign as education secretary and later home secretary he had asked people to focus on his policies of centralising the education system (which as leader of the sheffield city council he objected to) and his policy of fear mongering (which in his earlier life he had objected to regarding the soviet union). David, having claimed to be a man of integrity has been brought down by his own slef-righteousness.
The next point that peter price makes is that the public meetings were well publicised and that i am out of touch because i didnt go to them. This is a fair point but i would hope that a prize giving at firth park school would be about just that and not be a publicity stunt for david blunket and his influential mates. The same applies for the opening of a new tenants and residents association, as it is peter price has just reinforced my original assertion that david blunket is self centred and incredibly good at manipulating those worse off than himself.
Peter if you want to preach to me about class then i hope you wont preach about the working class which you and your mate david definatly arent. When was the last time you earned under £15 000 a year?
In fact peter, have you ever worked for under £5 per hour?

Somehow i can't imagine either david or peter living in a house worth less than £250 000.

To take peter's point about shirecliffe, i would like to reply but unfortunatly the entire paragraph is full of slonaneering and when looked into actually backs up my earlier point.
I find it ironic that peter slags off the tories for selling off council housing but defends totaly the labour policy which in so many areas of sheffield and the rest of the council has led to the privitisation of council houses.
Peter said:
"the whole estate is being replanned with a better mix for families, the elderly and single people, community facilities and open space."
In this case creating a creating a better "mix" has resulted in selling council houses!

What peter hasnt told us about is the false choice that is facing tenants today, either "stock transfer", "almo" or full privitisation. Peter, david blunket and company are residing over a sell out of this country's collective assets, these are things faught for by generations of working class trade unionists, labour party members and others. Peter and david blunket moan about the tories 17 years of dismantling the welfare state and turning the tide on working class gains only to carry out the same policies but through the back door.

Now to peter's third paragraph, in typical labour style he poses a question not expecting an answer.
"Do you think any of the Kids, the Parents or the Teachers & Heads could care a toss of how they were funded"

I honestly think that the parents, teachers and heads do care about bankrupting our childrens future for quick political gain. Earlier peter asked me to have patience, nothing happens over night, in the case of pfi labour has tried to create a world class education and health system over night not caring about the future consequences. Although i have no kids i have family and friends who do and i am quite sure that they do care about how the local school is funded and unlike new labour they are not prepared to hit and run because unlike david blunket and his hangers on like peter price i know that people of brightside, burngreave, shirecliffe and elsewhere are people of integrity, honesty and intellect. By claiming that parents don't care about the state of the their local school he is under-estimating the good people of sheffield and i do hope this will lead to david blunket, peter price and their ilk to be shown up for patronising self centred bunch that they are.


Stealing train ticket money from the taxpayer

05.01.2005 14:59

Blunkett's train ticket expenses fiddle seems to have been brushed under the carpet. This can only mean one thing - expense fiddling by MPs is so widespread none of them wanted a full scale investigation of Blunkett's fiddling in case the enquiry broadened out to cover them.


Cuthbert - Pot calling the Kettle ?

06.01.2005 15:51

CUTHBERT The personal abuse accusation is a bit rich. The whole of your contribution contained personal abuse against David Blunkett and I was just throwing back at you your own words verbatum.
However what you and your colleages seem unwilling to accept is that David and I are ELECTED yes democratically elected by the good people of Brightside and whatever you might think, we put ourselves forward for election and try our best to represent the people who elect us to build a better and fairer society and improve the quality of life for them. That aint always easy Robert Kennedy was right when he said that "20% of the people appose everything all of the time". This all may seem bullshit to you, but so be it.

Just to clarify a few points I have four kids and 9 grandkids and am now a pensioner living on the State Pension plus Council Allowances, which I can assure you are less than the £15000 pa you quote. There are a damn site easier ways of earning money than trying to represent people I can assure you. Secondly I live on Swanbourne Road in Brightside in a house which cost me £2,350 in 1967 and is now worth about £60,000 if I'm lucky. By the way I think Blunkett's house at Handsworth is of similar value (hardly the £250,000 you accuse us of). I was employed as a Technician at the University and I can assure you the Salaries were pretty poor I was the unpaid Branch Secretary of the Union ASTMS at the University and lead the only proper strike in the history of the University, with members being out for over 5 weeks, resulting in a 20% pay award. As you can probably gather I was even more unpopular with the University Establishment as I am with You. I attempted with colleagues to take the Government of the day on, on two occasions the first the Edward Heath Housing Act and second the Thatcher's Rate Capping, each time risking bancrupcy (not that I had much to bancrupt) but lost. So I have earned a few browney points over the years. What I have learned however, as I said previously, you do not serve the people who elect you well by Gesture Politics. Politics is the Art of the possible, and unfortunately you have to do what you can within rules set by other people if you are to benefit our communities.

To respond to Housing accusations. Firstly it is a fact that almost 40% of the Council housing on the Shiregreen has been bought by the sitting tenants. You and I may not like it but they have that legal right and it is becoming very obvious that more and more ordinary people want to own their own property's. What right have you to stop them? The position of improving the Housing stock through ALMOS I find your oppositon very strange firstly the houses stay in the ownership of the Council, but the management is carried out by an arms length company made up of local tenants ie removing the council out of the equation which I would have thought was just up your street. As regards Stock Transfer, while I am opposed to the principle, never the less, this is to none profit making Trusts or Housing Associations all of which have tenants on the boards. Hardly privatisation! But what it does of course is release millions of pounds to invest in our estates

Back to the PFI issue. PFI's are only an alternative way of funding new build. What ever way we use to build public facilities money has to borrowed. This has always been the case, governments gave us permission to borrow to a certain level and it has to be paid back over a number of years just like a mortgage. The problem is that it all counts against the country's 'Public Sector Borrowing Requirements' which for some reason upsets world bankers if this gets too high. The PFI route does not count against this (just like the ALMO and Stock Transfer in Housing). The reason I said people could not give a toss how it is funded, is because it is that or nothing, are you really saying to these people sorry pal but it is nothing. Particulary as Government fund 80% of council spending and as this is their recommended way of funding them, the vast majority of the revenue funding will be be found by Government through grant.

Finally it is a fact that all MP's are allowed to provide their wives or husbands with free rail tickets (whether we agree or not) from their constituency's to London. Is it not reasonble to think that in this day and age an MP who is single would have the same right for a partner of 3years?

Well lads this is me done I have enjoyed the debate, I am off to climb Kilimanjaro soon to raise money for the Cavendish Cancer Care Appeal. If you are interested in sponsoring me try my web site

good luck Keep up the good fight.

Pete Price

Pete Price


06.01.2005 22:47

Making tenants choose between an ALMO or no repairs sounds like a devious form of blackmail to me and i for one am disapointed that a man like peter price is supporting such a policy. As for PFI the least the government could do is call the private company to account when they stuff up, which in too many cases they havent.

i met david blunket

4 Homes Blunkett

27.01.2005 17:42

Blunkett’s pal, Councillor Peter Price, who recently accused me of being “middle-class” reckons that the prolier-than-thou ex-home secretary’s Handsworth 'pied a’ tierre' is worth £60,000. Now I don’t know much about house prices, I’ve never owned one, and my parents paid £500 for the Sheffield terrace where I was brought up. I’m not a great mathematician either, having left school at 16 (to work in Sheffield Works Department’s Manor Lane garage – So much for me being middle class.) But if Cry Baby Blunkett’s place is only worth £60,000, isn’t it a little ‘strange’ that in the past 3 years alone he’s claimed £54,000 from the taxpayer in maintenance for it?

Blunkett’s certainly been responsible for making more than a few people homeless in his time, but that’s something unlikely to happen to himself – being as he has no less than 4 ‘homes’ to choose from! Even getting his corrupt snout stuck in the trough didn’t lead to him losing the luxurious £3 Million Belgravia mansion which comes as a public purse perk of the home secretary. His crony Blair, decreed that even though Blunkett was forced to resign he can still keep it – along with his official limousine, and all his ‘security privileges’. And just to make sure that this so-called ‘working-class lad’ doesn’t have to struggle on his £57, 405 MP’s salary (about 30 times what I have to live on Peter), Blair is giving him a third of his previous £130,347 home secretary’s wage as a ‘redundancy payment’. We can’t have little David blubbing again can we?

In case Blunkett fancies slumming it a little, there’s always his Wimbledon property. He currently rents it out (for around £15,000 a year), but David’s no stranger to evicting people from their homes, or even out of the country for that matter.

Which brings us to Blunkett’s own little place in the country, the cottage he rents from the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire on their Chatsworth Estate. Almost a stone’s throw from the streets of Brightside Peter? A little further than that I think. To claim that a man with 4 homes, a limousine, a vast income, and a wealth of middle-class cronies is ‘working-class’ is an insult not only to the people of Brightside, but to everyone having to read such rubbish. When it comes to investigating Blunkett’s finances though, I doubt the Child Support Agency will let him off the hook as lightly as the Scott Inquiry.

Mark Barnsley

26th January 2004

Mark Barnsley

There's More!

02.02.2005 12:22

Not only has grasping Blunkett, the Vampire Of Brightside, managed to hang onto his £3 Million Belgravia mansion – But he won’t have to pay any council tax on it! A spokesman for the Cabinet Office was quoted in yesterday’s ‘Independent’ as saying, “If the official residence is declared by the minister, or former minister, to be a second home [or FOURTH home in this case], then council tax is not payable on it.” Furthermore, “The cost of maintaining it including the cleaning and all the bills would fall to the Government, with the possible exception of telephone bills, where sometimes the minister might make a contribution.” – Unless of course he ‘forgets’. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

Cat got your tongue Peter Price? Or have you brought some snow back from Kiliminjaro to throw on your mate?

Mark Barnsley

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